Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Quote of the Day

When one of my good friends passed away last summer, I began re-reading Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart.

In it, she talks about how living is like rowing a boat into the middle of the lake, knowing that it's going to sink. Perhaps oddly, I found this consoling. One of the only things I believe in with respect to this world is impermanence. Denying this sets ourselves up for false hope. And, I'm learning to become more okay with that.

Chodron continues:

"The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. It is an issue that applies to everyone, including both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there's some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. It means thinking there's always going to be a babysitter available when we need one. We all are inclined to delegate our authority to something outside ourselves. Nontheism is relaxing with ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves."

Is this condescending to theists? Possibly. But, the human impulse toward religion, for many, does seem to come from an understandable need for certainty in an uncertain, ever-changing world.

I don't have any big, deep thought about this. I mostly just get sick of the notion that atheists are cowards who abandon religion so we can live our lives in wanton, immoral abandon. Perhaps some atheists fit that description, but, it also takes bravery to acknowledge the reality of impermanence.

1 comment:

autum said...

What about deists? they thinl nothing of the sort, yet still believe in a god.